All right now…Mambo Cha Cha!

After almost two years of being away, I've returned to the comforting arms of an old friend.

Step aerobics.

Yes, it’s New Year’s Resolution Time. But more than that, like all wives to be, I’d like to look somewhat presentable when they snap that picture of Kevin shoving wedding cake down my face. So recently I’ve been lugging my behind to the gym to step aerobics class. And I do mean lugging it. Oomph.

I took my first step aerobics class when I was 16 at Buffa's Dance Studio in my home state of Virginia. (And yes, Buffa was the honest to God first name of the woman who owned the studio...even now, I am jealous.) During my very first class, the instructor -- a hyper suburban mom with a rebellious buzz cut -- cheered at my quick ability to learn such steps at the V step, the L step, the A step, and my personal favorite, The Around the World. I was hooked.3

In the nearly 15 years since my first class, I've taken step aerobics on and off at gyms and YMCAs and in my own house using Jane Fonda's step aerobics tape. (Just so you know, Jane doesn't actually step in it herself, but instead makes her lapdog assistants do all the work while she runs through a simple 5-minute abs section at the end. Cheater!)

Anyway, for reasons involving getting married, buying a house, changing careers, blah blah blah, I've strayed from step aerobics during the past two years. But now, I'm back full force. I'm back with the V-step and the 360 and the Turn Step and the New York and the Over the Top and the Charleston and even the Mambo Cha Cha.

I don't look particularly good when I do step aerobics. I start to sweat like a pig, and I have a tendency to pound on the step so hard it slides out of place. When I do the Mambo Cha Cha, I often glance at myself in the mirror and think that with my bandana in place around my head, an old punk rock T-shirt draped over my shoulders, and my horsey, stompy demeanor, I could probably fit in at a biker bar for tough chicks. (And oh, how I want to fit in there.)

I'm not very dancey in the light, airy, fanciful way that step aerobics demands you be dancey. But I am coordinated, and I can keep count and do the moves with the best of them. My favorite moments come late in the class, after the instructor has "added on" and the whole bunch of us ladies are deep into the routine, stepping and moving and sweating and Mambo Cha Cha-ing to the sweet techno remix of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." Nowhere else do I feel the bizarre combination of being coordinated and retarded, in shape and yet, in some strange way, not in shape enough, sweaty and short of breath, glowing and full of red blood cells pumping.

Yes indeed, ladies and gentlemen...let's hear it for step aerobics; an old friend, an old confidant, and, most importantly, a place where I am free.

Now...let's take it from the top with a Basic Right.